Interior Minister Christophe Castaner said Tuesday that France will welcome "at the same level" the migrants on board the humanitarian ship Ocean Viking than those of the Open Arms, a boat that Paris has promised to collect 40 people.
"We are committed to the Open Arms, we are committed to the same level on the Ocean Viking (boat operated by SOS Mediterranean and Doctors Without Borders left on August 4 in Marseille, Ed), to ensure that we can disembark as soon as possible the people who are on these boats, "said the Minister of the Interior at a press conference in Biarritz, where will be held from August 24 to 26 the G7 summit.
Mr. Castaner's comments do not mean, however, that France will once again receive exactly 40 migrants: the commitment "at the same level" means that it will be "proportional", says the Interior Ministry to AFP , suggesting that it may be higher by the distribution with other countries, given that there are 356 migrants on the Ocean Viking, which is still between Malta and Italy, while Open Arms gathered about 160 people during its mission.
The commitment will "let France take full responsibility", added the Minister of the Interior while Madrid and Rome are in full swing over the fate of the Open Arms, ship of the Spanish NGO Proactiva which the Italian justice ordered on Tuesday the landing of the migrants on the island of Lampedusa.
"The expectation of ships (...) can not continue.This waiting is unbearable," said Christophe Castaner. "The people on board are vulnerable people, who must be landed as quickly as possible in the closest and safest ports."
© 2019 AFP